Something’s wrong with your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. It’s not an uncommon situation, with one study finding that the average employee loses a lot of time to IT-related issues. Whether it’s a mysterious error message, an intermittent blue screen, or routine freezing and hanging, the first instinct is to pick up the phone and call your IT support desk.
That is, of course, the right thing to do. Your IT help desk has the knowledge and skills to help resolve almost any IT-related issue… but before you make that call, there are some things you may wish to try that could help instantly resolve your problem, and which will, in any event, make the process of getting help for your problem faster and smoother.
Try basic troubleshooting
For many tech-related problems, there are a few steps you can take yourself that will resolve the vast majority of problems. Let’s start with one you’ve probably already heard of: turn your computer off and turn it back on again. It may sound basic, but it really does resolve a lot of problems – by some estimates more than half of reported IT-related issues can be resolved in this way.
If, on the other hand, a piece of hardware doesn’t seem to be working as it should (or if your computer appears completely unresponsive) it’s worth making sure it’s plugged in correctly. Ensure that it hasn’t been unplugged since last you used it and that all cables are firmly in place.
Run a Google search
For minor issues, a quick Google search can often work wonders. Some problems arise because you may accidentally have changed a setting or moved a vital file. A Google search for a description of your problem or any error message you’ve received can help resolve the problem instantly.
While this is a great solution to some problems, unless you’re able to find a simple and well-explained fix that you can fully understand, it’s still worth contacting IT support – it’s their job to monitor issues and maintain the health and efficiency of devices in your workplace. A Google search is only an appropriate way to tackle relatively minor errors.
Run a virus scan
Your computer should be equipped with anti-virus software. If you’re still able to, it’s a good idea to run a full scan of your system. You should have regular scans scheduled as part of routine maintenance, but running a scan when you encounter a problem can catch anything that has struck in the hours since the last scan.
Some anti-virus software will be able to quarantine and remove threats on its own. If it can’t, IT services will nonetheless find the information and logs it’s able to provide useful in neutralizing the threat.
Save error messages
By this point in the list you’ve run through some basic troubleshooting measures and your problem still hasn’t been resolved. It’s time to put in a call to your IT help desk. Before you do, however, there’s some information you can gather to help get your issue resolved quickly, and get back on track as soon as possible.
If you get an error message, for example, make a note of exactly what it says. Although it may sound like nonsense to you, many error messages contain a lot of information which an IT professional can use to help diagnose a problem.
Make a note of what happened
While your memory is still fresh, try to map out what lead to the issue. Were you updating something? Were you using a particular piece of software? Did you notice anything strange in the hours leading up to the issue, such as your device running slowly, or making system noises? The more information you’re able to provide, the easier it’ll be for the IT helpdesk to make a clean and clear diagnosis, and the quicker you’ll get to a solution.
Can you recreate the issue?
Does the problem occur on a regular basis? And if so, can you pinpoint what it is that makes it happen? Knowing that a problem occurs when you try to run a certain piece of software, or when you try to shut down your computer, for example, can really help narrow down the field of possible issues, and get you to a prompt solution.
What are you working with?
Finally, it’s extremely useful to know what machine, what operating system and what software you’re working with. Some devices have this printed on their casing, or on a sticker, while others will provide it under the heading of “About”. If you’re able to, make a note of this information before placing your call. Knowing how up to date the hardware and software can be instrumental in resolving IT issues.
It’s never fun having to deal with IT problems, but by following these steps you can resolve some simple issues for yourself, and ensure that when you do have to call your IT help desk, they can get you to a solution quickly and easily. With luck, you can be back at work within minutes rather than hours.